By Anne Dachel
I like to think that reporters are someday going to start telling the truth about autism and catch on to the fact that if you only talk to health officials, you’re only getting one side of the story when it comes to the controversy over vaccines and autism. Sunday, Aug 15, I had nice surprise when I looked at autism stories in the news.
The piece, To ‘V’ or not to ‘V’? Free vaccinations offered; controversy continues, (HERE) was in the Hudson Reporter from Hoboken, NJ. It started out with the typical vaccine promotion: “The North Hudson Community Action Corporation (NHCAC) is collaborating with the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) Immunization Program to offer five vaccinations for free to everyone from newborns to seniors at NHCAC’s public health centers in Union City and West New York.”
We were also told, “Some parents began to show concern about the growing list of vaccines their children are mandated to take. And although that study was discredited and more recent studies ‘found no evidence of harm’ from vaccines, many people nationwide, including some high-profile celebrities, are still pushing the cause of vaccination research and choice.”
Then reporter Lana Rose Diaz did an amazing thing, she included an interview with autism advocate and parent, Louise Kuo Habakus, founder of Life Health Choices. Diaz did more than just give Habakus a single sentence taken out of context with no follow-up. She allowed Habakus to talk about the organizations she’s a part of—the New Jersey Coalition for Vaccination Choice and the Center for Personal Rights .
Habakus told about her own children:
“Habakus said she got involved in the fight for vaccination choice after two of her children were injured by vaccines. She said they developed inflammatory bowel disease, which got progressively worse after each vaccine.
“However, she stressed that the injuries her children faced may be less or more severe than what others could face.
“’Vaccine injury manifests very differently in different people,’ said Habakus.”
She got to give details about the situation in New Jersey:
“Habakus added that New Jersey is the only place in the world that mandates the flu shot for kids.
"‘We mandate more vaccines than any other place in the world,’ said Habakus. ‘We also don't have the gold standard when it comes to choice.’
“Vaccines are recommended at a federal level by the Center for Disease Control and are mandated by each state's Department of Health.
“New Jersey tops the list of most mandated vaccines, which parents may only refuse for religious or medical reasons.
“Habakus said that New Jersey is the leading state with children with autism and learning disabilities. Autism is a complex developmental disability that affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others.
“In New Jersey, the autism rate is 1 in 94. Some have said the high rate is due to the many resources that exist in the state, a situation that draws people with autistic children to move here. In addition, more children may be diagnosed here.
“Habakus pointed to the fact that the Garden State gives more shots, offers no vaccine choice, and is the U.S. and worldwide headquarters for over half of the world's pharmaceutical firms.
"’Is that a coincidence?’ she said. ‘The pharmaceutical industry is such an important tax base in our state, you could argue that it would be impossible to be elected in New Jersey without pharm support.’
“Habakus said that sufficient research has never been put into vaccines to see who is susceptible to possible complications prior to administering vaccines, because the people conducting the studies are the same ones selling the product.”
It’s unlikely that any ordinary person reading this story would just dismiss the comments made by Habakus. They should raise serious questions, especially in the minds of concerned parents. We can hope they’ll then do further research on their own and learn the details about what both sides are saying.
We can also hope that more reporters will do their job---and give us the arguments from both sides. That’s all we ask. It’s what they mean by “fair and balanced.”
Anne Dachel is Media Editor of Age of Autism.